Center in the News
  • 9/11 Tribute Center Award Winners
    Congratulations to We the People teacher Mario Fitzpatrick who was in New York City this last week being recognized as one of the 2014 9/11 Tribute Center Teachers. He won the award for a unit designed to answer one of students’ most frequently asked questions about 9/11: “Why did the terrorists attack the U.S.?” Using the Close Read method, students studied Osama bin Laden’s fatwa issued on February 23, 1998. Through a series of questions and worksheets examining other samples of radicalizing propaganda, students were able to deeply analyze the words used in the document and the meanings behind them. Additional resources that the class used include other primary source documents, including Islamist terrorist propaganda.

  • Academics for All names Joe Shassetz as this week’s Summit Award recipient - The Sheridan Press
    Academics for All proudly honors Joe Shassetz with this week’s Summit Award. He maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA while taking a difficult schedule that includes challenging college prep courses, such as Advanced Placement calculus, AP U.S. history, AP government, AP biology and AP chemistry. He has been recognized for community service and athletic achievements, but his extracurricular exploits are not limited to athletics. This past summer, Shassetz was a part of the state champion “We the People” team. The “We the People” competition judges students’ knowledge of constitutional principles and their ability to apply that knowledge to historical and current constitutional issues. By winning the state competition, Shassetz and his teammates qualified to compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. When asked about the best parts of the experience, Shassetz said “I really enjoyed meeting everyone else in the competition. The competition itself made me a better public speaker

  • Munster students head to We the People contest with purpose : Highland Community News
    The students understand how important the coming competition is. They are fully prepared to make their cases before We the People judges in Washington D.C. You can see the seriousness in their eyes and feel the confidence that comes from knowing they are close, just a few weeks of preparation, to the chance of a lifetime. This sense of purpose may have to do with the fact that Mike Gordon’s Munster High School team has been studying the U.S. Constitution since last spring. While many teens can tell you about popular culture down to the most mundane, Gordon’s students cite legal scholars. It may sound too earnest, but their curiosity is sincere. Emily Wierman, a junior, stands out among peers, a recent winner and finalist in the American Legion Oratorical district and regional competitions. In her third year on the debate team, she is tackling the tricky waters of Unit 5, the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Marshwood enrichment programs hailed as success - News - - Portsmouth, NH
    The review of academic enrichment programs at the district’s schools continued at the SAD 35 School Board meeting Wednesday as the board received updates on enrichment programs at Marshwood High School and Marshwood Middle School. Board Chairwoman Martha Leathe congratulated the high school’s “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” team for winning the Maine state title. “We the People” is an academic competition. The team will travel to Washington, D.C., in April for the national finals.

    The Global Leaders Club from Coral Gables Preparatory Academy took second place in the state finals for the “We the People” competition on Jan. 23. “We the People” is a mock congressional hearing competition where students show mastery of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They must be able to interpret and apply its laws to relevant current events. Student teams are judged by a panel of distinguished members of the community, including judges and lawyers. The competition consists of six groups of three students who sit before a panel of judges and debate and discuss global and domestic issues and how the U.S. Constitution applies to those issues. The Global Leaders Club includes teacher Cristina Velasquez-Colon and the following students: Nicolle Anillo, Sophia Del Granado, Isabella Del Granado, Robin Garrido, Sophia Jarjour, Sebastian McGraw, Bryan Hehir, Sebastian Stiefel, Lucas Picciano, Katya Gutierrez, Kristen Sosa, Marisol Hernandez, and other students.

  • Cynical Youth Lack Civics Education |
    Oregon state legislators are worried that their constituents don’t know enough about state government. There are three bills proposed in the current 2015 session to improve civics education in Oregon: HB 2977, HB 2955 and SB 484. Each has a different angle, but all stem from the same general feeling: Kids graduating today don’t know enough about the legislative process to understand that they have a stake in the system. In 2004, under direction from the state Legislature, the nonprofit Classroom Law Project conducted a survey of Oregon high schoolers to assess their knowledge of state and federal government. They found that only 22 percent of students could name both state senators in Congress. The average score on the survey was a high D. Only 20 percent of students said “Yes” to the statement, “I think that people in government care about what people like me and my family need.”

  • We the People New Jersey State Finals
    On Jan. 21, classes of students from eight schools across New Jersey participated in the 28th annual New Jersey State We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State High School Competition at Rutgers University in Piscataway, demonstrating their extensive knowledge and understanding of our democratic system of limited government. Set up in the format of simulated legislative hearings, the students made oral presentations and responded to questions about the principles, history and continuing importance of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights from panels of attorneys, judges, political scientists, and social studies educators, including former New Jersey State Supreme Court Chief Justice Deborah Portiz, who gave the students high praise. We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is the most extensive civic education program in the country. It is the remaining legacy of the 1987 Bicentennial of the Constitution.

  • Marion Students Competing in We the People National Finals |
    More than a dozen Marion Technical Institute students are trained to make their voices heard. They have been speaking at meetings throughout the community, refusing to let the challenge of raising $25,000 stop them from attending the national championship of public speaking on the U.S. Constitution. The seniors will be competing in the "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" competition in April in Washington, D.C., as long as they can raise the funds soon. The seniors attend MTI's Career Academy, which is held on the College of Central Florida campus. Sixteen students in teacher Douglas Oswald's Tuesday-Thursday American Government class are planning to compete from April 24-28. Dakota Miller, 17, class president, said the rigorous curriculum has inspired him to want to go into law enforcement. "It's made me feel more American," Dakota said. "Mr. Oswald has pounded the Constitution into me."

  • Cresskill students lead effort to restore monument - Community News -
    Students from the Cresskill High School are leading an effort to restore two walls at the Merritt Circle Monument, one of which is damaged with a large piece detached. Six girls from the Academies at Cresskill, a program at the high school, came to the Feb. 4 council meeting saying they want to repair the damaged wall, which sits on the southeast corner of the traffic circle at the intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue. The girls said they are reaching out to the Bergen County Historical Society regarding potential collaboration on the project. "They did an excellent job and I'm happy that they've decided to take on this project and the borough will help them as much as we can," Mayor Benedict Romeo said on Feb. 9. Emily Wells, a spokesperson for the group, said the students were members of Project Citizen, a program in which students brainstorm solutions to real-life problems. Working with Borough Historian Carol Banicki gave them the idea to restore the monument

  • City Council declares April 20 the start of 'We the People' week in Maple Valley - Covington-Maple Valley Reporter
    The Maple Valley City Council signed a proclamation at Monday night's meeting, declaring the week of April 20, 2015 to be "We the People" week. The declaration came as a result of Tahoma High School's We The People team winning the state championship for the 19th time on Jan. 10. The team of 26 seniors will travel to Washington, D.C. for the national competition beginning April 24. Some of the questions that may be asked at the competition in Washington, D.C. include: "The British Constitution has been described as 'evolutionary' and as 'a tapestry, deftly woven and embellished over time.' Are those fitting descriptions? Why or why not?" and "How would you explain procedural justice and what important purposes does it serve?" A group of four of the "weoples" gave a demonstration of their knowledge at the packed meeting Monday.